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[Flash fiction is an umbrella term used to describe any fictional work of extreme brevity, including the Six-Word Story, 140-character stories, also known as twitterature, the dribble (50 words), the drabble (100 words), and sudden fiction (750 words)]

“Well. Imagine this to be your kingdom.”

He drew a fairly large circle on the dirt with a stick he had broken off a branch from a nearby tree. He paused to wipe his face on the already soaked shirt sleeve. The summer sun was beating down upon them mercilessly. How did the twit manage to look so cool even in this heat, he wondered looking at the fresh face of his little brother. Not even a hair was out of place. He turned to look at his two friends sitting further away in the cool shade of the spreading branches of the mango tree. Hurry up, one of them mouthed, while the other grinned, knowing what was coming next.

“Aren’t they going to play too?” his brother lisped.

“Of course!” he replied, his attention now back on his little brother. “They are the robbers whom we…. I mean, I have to hunt down and bring before you for justice.”

“Okay.”

“You, are the wise one. Sit here on the rock, where the magic powers are the strongest.”

His brother sat at the spot indicated and looked expectantly at him.

“Close your eyes and meditate.”

“What’s ‘meditate’?”

“Just keep your eyes closed!”  He tried not to let his impatience show. “Open them only when I come back with the culprits and hail you, …and then you get to pass judgement, just like the boy king we read about!”

“Okay! Can I give them any punishment I like?”

“You are the King!” Then turning to his friends he hollered, “Okay fellas, run! I am going to catch you both soon.”

Laughing, his friends ran down the dirt path and disappeared into the bushes. He followed at a more leisurely pace knowing they’d be waiting for him near where the tarred road crossed the pathway. Across it, quite some distance away was the maidan. More of his friends would be there, waiting. Now they could all play in peace without the twit tagging along and spoiling the fun. Can I bat, big brother? Can I bowl, big brother? Aaaargh. Pest! Why couldn’t he have stayed home with mom, color some silly picture book or something?

He knew that when he returned at the end of the day he’d have to face his mom’s wrath. For now though he didn’t have the leech sticking to him. He whistled tunelessly, ignoring that feeling of guilt for having cheated his brother into staying back. He was sure to go crying to mom when he opened his eyes and found no one around. In spite of his guilt he laughed at how he had outwitted his brother. His friends were waiting up ahead and were now waving to him. He enthusiastically waved back. Their waving became even more frenzied. Wait a minute. They weren’t waving at him, but trying to get him to look behind. What was the matter?

He fervently hoped the black and white dog that belonged to the postmaster wasn’t behind him. He had thrown stones at it a couple of time and ever since he felt it looked at him menacingly whenever he passed by. He slowed down and stopped. Abrupt movements upset dogs. They instinctively chased after fast moving objects, and he didn’t want any dog, particularly one he had been using for target practice, to chase him. He held his breath and stood absolutely still. Let it go past him and then he’d continue on his way. The footfalls came closer and stopped. He heard labored breathing and frowned. Big brother, a voice he knew so well lisped from behind him, I want to play cricket too.

© Shail Mohan 2020